by Seshata on 02/03/2015 | Consumption

Top 5 hacks for when you run out of smoking papers

Rolling Paper Alternatives Every dedicated cannabis user ought to be carrying around a kit of essential items at all times. Omitting this crucial aspect of the stoner routine is just unprofessional. But even the best of us get caught out at times, and go to roll a joint only to discover there are no smoking papers to be found. You may find yourself asking: what can I use as rolling paper?

1. Find a substitute For paper

We all remember schooldays when someone managed to smuggle in an eighth but—surprise surprise!—didn’t manage to steal any smoking papers from out of their big brother’s stash box.

And then eventually you all end up huddled behind the sports hall frantically trying to roll joints out of toilet paper, magazine covers and old receipts, and you’ve wasted most of the weed so far trying to do it…

So thank heaven that those days are long behind (most of) us, and we now have an array of superior options to go for, in the astoundingly rare event that we plan poorly enough to run out of OCB’s and there’s nary a head shop to be found.

If you happen to be artistically-minded, or just the type of person that likes to do brass rubbings when out and about, you may be the kind of person who carries around tracing paper in their pocket!

Tracing paper is actually a pretty good alternative for smoking papers, if you have the thin, high-quality stuff. Much better than a magazine or a receipt, anyway—but yeah, perhaps not the most common pocket item.

2. Gum paper

On the other hand, if you’re just a regular, uncreative Joe with no tracing paper about your person (you poor peasant), you may still be in luck if you happen to have a few sticks of gum in your pocket. That silvery foil stuff that your sticks of gum come wrapped in?

If you can rub the foil part off without damaging the paper underneath, that paper can act as a pretty reasonable substitute Rizla—and as a bonus, all the sugary-gummy residual goodness left on the paper should help stick it together, with a little help from your tongue.

3. Roll up a corn husk

Although this technically counts as a replacement rolling paper, it’s so good it deserves a section of its own. The outer layers of an ear of sweetcorn can be dried and used as a natural rolling paper, and probably represents the least harmful option listed so far!

The husk is naturally soft, flexible and fibrous, and retains these qualities even when dry.

Top 5 hacks for when you run out of smoking papers

Many countries that produce both corn and cannabis use corn husks to roll joints as a traditional method of consumption. In Jamaica, an island that is globally known for its high-quality cannabis, sun-drying corn husks to later use as rolling papers is a widespread practice.

Here they are typically soaked in water briefly prior to rolling, to ensure that their flexibility is maximised.

Mexico and the USA are other countries where cannabis users report use of this method—in the USA, pre-dried corn husks can be purchased in the Mexican section of many large supermarkets, particularly in the South.

As well as corn, fibres from several other plants can substitute for rolling papers—and may even prove preferable in terms of flavour, as many report the ‘papery’ taste to be absent. The fibrous inner membrane of bamboo is one substitute, and the bark (or the layer beneath the bark) of several trees is light and flexible enough to be used.

4. Make a bucket/lung

Making substitute pipes is another approach to the problem of being caught out without smoking papers or bong. There are various different ways to achieve this, from using an apple or a bell pepper to constructing ambitious devices out of old electronics and scrap metal.

Here we’ll briefly describe two related methods that are capable of packing a serious punch, but do not require any hard-to-find items.

Both techniques require a 2-litre (or similar) empty bottle, such as one used to contain water or soft drinks. The bottle must be cut in two, approximately 1/3 of the way up from the bottom. A piece of tin foil shaped to fit the mouth of the bottle and pierced several times to allow airflow is also needed.

To make a lung, simply use tape to attach a plastic bag to the cut end of the bottle; once secure, scrunch the bag up inside the bottle.

  • Then place some cannabis onto the foil ‘gauze’, which should be loosely placed on the mouth of the bottle.
  • Use a lighter to burn the cannabis while using your other hand to pull the plastic bag out of the bottle—by doing this you create a vacuum inside the bottle, which causes air (and smoke) to rush into the chamber.
  • When the bag is fully extended, remove the foil from the bottle and inhale the smoke from inside the bottle.
  • A bucket (also known as a gravity bong) functions similarly, but uses a large (at least 10 litre) bucket filled around 2/3 full with water. The bottle is placed into the bucket and held down so that it does not float up.
  • The foil is placed on the mouth of the bottle, cannabis is placed on it and burned, and the bottle is slowly raised up, causing the vacuum inside to become filled with air and smoke.

5. Do hot-knives

“Hot-knives” is one of the oldest and most well-known methods of consuming cannabis in the absence of a paper or pipe. It is also one of the simplest—but can potentially be quite dangerous, so great care must be taken especially if already intoxicated! All you need is a heat source such as a gas or electric stove, two knives and some cannabis.

Some also prefer to use a straw or a rolled-up piece of paper to inhale the smoke, to avoid getting too close to the source of the heat, but this is not always necessary.

  • Simply switch on the stove and bring it up to a medium-hot temperature. Once it is hot, hold the blades of the two knives immediately above the heat source for a short time (usually 1-2 minutes is sufficient).
  • Ensure that the handles of the knives are away from the heat source to avoid damage to them (and injury to you!). Then, carefully place a small piece of cannabis on to one of the knife blades, and press the other knife blade down onto it so that the cannabis is ‘sandwiched’ between two hot metal blades.
  • The cannabis should begin to smoke immediately, so be ready to inhale as soon as contact has been made to avoid wastage. The advantage of this technique is that it can be used for any type of cannabis—flowers, hashish and even concentrates! This wide ranging application is the reason that hot-knives remains one of the most popular and well-known techniques in the book.

6. Buy A vaporizer

A permanent solution for the forgetful cannabis users is to find a different way of using. If you never want the problem of getting caught without smoking papers again, have a look at the pocket sized vaporizers that are out there.

Comment Section

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mamello molelekoa

I like this method



I forgot about this one, lots papers easy to use. AWESOME


Jordan smith

Can you use paper from books as rolling paper?



Thin paper from a book can work good I've tried before but there's other options



The bible works exceptionally well for this :)



I used to take thin paper form the inner side a cigarette box...



Use a Bible paper (biblical spliff) lol



Can u also use notebook paper or a gum wrapper wit out da aluminum part on it?



Yes matie. make sure u remove the colored part of it



cool ;)



Can I use notebook paper?? Will the dye be harmful??


Scarlet Palmer

Hi Ashley,

Thanks for your comment. You could try using notebook paper but it will probably be too thick to burn well. Depending on how much dye is on the paper, it might make you feel a bit sick; it's certainly not good for you, but it's not going to kill you if you're only using it in emergencies. I was once stuck without papers at Xmas and discovered that the thin paper party hats that are inside crackers make a really good substitute. There was a bit of an inky flavour (it was a purple hat) but the paper burned really well and even stuck to itself! I have also rolled joints using pages out of the bible, which are usually very thin. They don't stick together on their own, but they also burn well.

Good luck!

With best wishes,




Travel to another country! you have stash but no papers or device!! Hahaha. This article becomes of great interest!! Thanks.



Go to the store. Jeez!



Mid-night and the only 24hour shop near by is sold out - then what :'/ !?



on the individually wrapped chewing gum wrappers, you can pull a semi transparent paper off the shiny aluminum life side. its a good size. burns great, too. unsure how good it may be for ones lungs though...



Phone book


Hakiro San

Straw papers from drive thru



Well.. even at grannys.. there will always be a teabag... and that paper seems to be quite a good one



Would printer paper work? Would the chemicals get me sick?


Just do an apple bong

Printer paper tastes like shit and lasts like 10 seconds.


Hrh.mighty boss blunt ??

Life saver jonzing to burn up loud stash grand master cookie cookie oj cus been sipping lyn all day,u see am from nigeria (apologize to any 1 whom has had bad xperinces with some of my compatriot's just hope u won't hold it against me cuz we ain't all bad)so getting drugs n paper ain't that hard but its late n every onez dead lol zomibefied ? or just thanks to u all



what about the paper you stuff in gift bags???


Scarlet Palmer

Hi there,

Interesting idea! The coloured type would probably taste quite bad, since it's saturated in ink, but the white stuff might not be too bad - have you tried either?

With best wishes,




Would trident wrappers work instead of five gum or juicy fruit wrappers


Scarlet Palmer

Hi Andrew,

I'm afraid I can't answer that one, if you give it a try please let us know the result?

With best wishes,




Rizla paper is dangerous or not and yes so why bro..



Would parchment paper


Scarlet Palmer

Hi John,

I think parchment would be too thick to work effectively, but I could be wrong. Please let us know what happens if you try it!

With best wishes,




Cigarette are easier to get. Empty it up without opening or cutting it. Put ua stash inside. You can smoke with the or without the filter, without makes u high faster.
Your welcome



Your a damn fool who the hell smokes off a butter knife?no one wants to get burnt and stabbed or both on accident .dumbass



What about the paper that comes in the shoe box ?



can you use tea bag wrappers?


Scarlet Palmer

Hi Paige,

I've never tried, so I can't answer this one I'm afraid - anyone else?

With best wishes,




Use tracing paper.


Maya Nicholson

can you just use ordinary paper? or will it hurt your lungts, like while youre smoking will it hurt it, like not the health part. but will it be in pain?


Scarlet Palmer

Hi Maya,

Thanks for your comment. Ordinary paper will burn really quickly, and because it is so thick, yes, the smoke will almost certainly hurt your lungs! If you check the rest of the comments, you will see that the majority of suggestions are for types of paper that are thin, for these reasons.

With best wishes,




Ok thanks for the suggestions! But how to roll a joint with paper? How to make it stick???


Scarlet Palmer

Hi Janey,

If it's thin paper, you can try ripping one edge so that it's a bit 'frayed' and ragged, then moisten it and try to get it to stick together in a kind of papier-mâché way. If you chew gum and then lick it, it will probably work better. Good luck :)

With best wishes,



Jason Alden

Thanks for sharing this blog. Please keep sharing such blogs.




Tried shoebox crepe.

Works fine...used a little sugar to make the gum strip.



This is like, underage smoker heaven, this blog LMAO. I've been using newspaper pages and I just kinda crumple the end so nothing falls out, it works pretty well imo.



I used thin paper from my niece's art notebook. It came out way better than I thought. The paper stuck well to itself and it didn't have much of a weird flavor.



I used thin paper from my niece's art notebook. It came out way better than I thought. The paper stuck well to itself and it didn't have much of a weird flavor.



Use a page from the bible it works fine.



kotex tubes always came in handy


Scarlet Palmer

Hi Rob,

I think you mean the paper around the tubes, but for a second I imagined the actual cardboard tube full of cannabis, like the blunt from hell :D so thanks for that!

With best wishes,




This is a great idea. Thanks for posting. This is more informative for me. keep posting as well.



EASY METHOD: if you have any brown paper bag wet it soak it let it dry for like 15-20 minutes and roll your weed


Luxury packaging

amazing information. I am very thankful for this information.


Luxury packaging

there is so many type of thin paper. the thin paper uses different packaging such as cannabis cone boxes, books, and so on.


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